Free Study Guide for The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

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The Places: Nevada (numerous little towns including Blythe and Battle Mountain plus Las Vegas); San Francisco, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Welch, West Virginia; and New York City
The time: from approximately 1957 to 2005.


Major Characters

Jeannette Walls
She is the narrator and main character of the story. She tells the events of her life living with neglectful and yet loving parents.

Rex Walls
He is Jeannette’s alcoholic father who manipulates and uses his wife and his children for his own needs and yet never stops loving them and hoping they love him.

Rose Mary Walls
She is the selfish mother of the family who brings her own baggage with her and passes it on to her children. She also loves her family but only after her own needs are met.

Lori Walls
She is the oldest child of the family, but isn’t the one who dominates. She is smart and loving, but without Jeannette, hasn’t the courage to escape the life she hates.

Brian Walls
He is the boy of the Walls siblings and learns very young how to protect his sisters. He grows up to be a protector as well when he becomes a police officer.

Maureen Walls
She is the most fragile of the children and spends all her life looking for someone to take care of her.

Minor Characters

Erma. Ted, and Stanley Walls
These characters are Rex Walls’ mother, father and brother. They are racists and have bad attitudes about nearly everything. Stanley tries to rape Jeannette at one point.

Dinitia Hewitt
She is the young black girl from Welch who first allows her gang to beat up Jeannette and then calls them off when she sees Jeannette in a different light.

Jeanette Bivens
She is Jeannette’s favorite teacher who not only encouraged her dad to be a writer, but also supports and guides Jeannette.

Grandma Smith
Although she doesn’t appear very much in the story, she is one of the individuals in Jeannette’s life who has a great influence on her.

Ginnie Sue Pastor
She is the town whore in Welch and teaches Jeannette a great deal in one visit to her home about the realities of life and what you are willing to do to put food on the table.

John Taylor
He is Jeannette’s second husband who helps her find her real place in life and readily accepts her family with all their imperfections.


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The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls Free BookNotes Summary

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